## How to Set Up an Alternate Air Source for Scuba Diving

An alternate air source (AAS) is a vital piece of scuba diving equipment that provides a backup supply of air in the event of an emergency. Every certified diver should be trained in the proper use of an AAS and how to set it up correctly.

### Types of Alternate Air Sources

There are two main types of AAS:

Octopus: An octopus is a second-stage regulator that is connected to the primary regulator by a short hose. It is typically worn on the diver’s chest and can be easily shared with a buddy in an emergency.
Pony bottle: A pony bottle is a small, high-pressure cylinder that is filled with compressed air. It is typically attached to the diver’s harness and can provide a longer duration of backup air than an octopus.

### Selecting an AAS

When selecting an AAS, consider the following factors:

Type of diving: The type of diving you plan to do will determine the size and capacity of the AAS you need. For recreational diving in shallow water, an octopus may be sufficient. For deeper or longer dives, a pony bottle may be a better option.
Compatibility with primary regulator: Ensure that the AAS you choose is compatible with your primary regulator. This means that the hoses and fittings should match.
Comfort: The AAS should be comfortable to wear and easy to access in an emergency.

### Setting Up an AAS

Follow these steps to set up an AAS:

1. Connect the AAS to the primary regulator. Use a low-pressure hose to connect the second stage of the AAS to the first stage of the primary regulator. Tighten the connections securely using a wrench.
2. Purge the AAS. Open the AAS valve and exhale into the second stage to purge any water or debris from the hose.
3. Secure the AAS. Attach the AAS to your harness or chest using a clip or bungee cord. Make sure it is securely fastened but easy to access.
4. Inspect the AAS regularly. Check the AAS before each dive to ensure that it is properly connected and functioning correctly.

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### Using an AAS

In an emergency, follow these steps to use an AAS:

1. Take a deep breath from the primary regulator.
2. Switch to the AAS. Open the AAS valve and exhale into the second stage to clear any water or debris.
3. Close the primary regulator valve.
4. Breathe from the AAS. Continue to breathe from the AAS until you can safely ascend to the surface.

### Additional Tips

Practice using the AAS. Practice using the AAS in a comfortable environment before diving. This will help you to become familiar with its operation and build confidence.
Carry a whistle. A whistle can be used to signal for help if you need to use your AAS.
Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared to use your AAS in an emergency.

Setting up an alternate air source is an essential safety precaution for scuba diving. By following these steps, you can ensure that you have a backup supply of air in case of an emergency.

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